back to article Thinking of buying a Surface? Try a modular OLED Thinkpad first

Lenovo has announced almost two dozen new and refreshed models for 2016, including new arrivals to its staple Thinkpad X1, T series and X series business ranges. The most eye-catching of these is a serious Surface competitor, the X1 tablet. In the premium business segment – where Microsoft’s Surface is stealing all the oxygen …

  1. Gary Bickford

    Has Lenovo given up their spy/adware?

    I recall that last year Lenovo was caught putting (what I read was) unremovable crapware onto their systems. Has that stopped? How do we know?

    1. hplasm

      Re: Has Lenovo given up their spy/adware?

      It seems that it does have Win 10.

      Make of that what you may.

  2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit


    Oh good more 16:9 screened systems, the market place is desperately short of those.

    1. Efros

      Re: plonk

      I feel your pain, to maximize screen usage on widescreen I move my taskbar to the left hand side and increase its width to allow all of my most commonly used programs a shortcut icon on a toolbar. Still means that there's acres of whitespace on anything I open.

  3. tiggity Silver badge

    nice highlighting of sales speak dross in the review

    thanks to "a new kind of magnesium"

    classic sales blurb, subverting basic chemistry

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: nice highlighting of sales speak dross in the review

      @tiggity - my thoughts too, but on further pondering I presume they mean a new type of Magnesium alloy (pure Magnesium might prove problematic if introduced to a source of ignition).

      But I could be wrong, maybe they've invented a new isotope.

      The real subversives are us Chemists :-)

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: nice highlighting of sales speak dross in the review

        But I could be wrong, maybe they've invented a new isotope.

        Going to be difficult to make it notably lighter as a result!

        Presumably they've tinkered with the alloy a bit.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: nice highlighting of sales speak dross in the review

      Or physics - you never know.

      Theoretically, you can get "lighter magnesium" by making out of the lower atomic weight isotopes. Practically, I would like to see the salesman trying to sell it to hold it on its knees first. The lighter than normal Mg isotopes have half-life in the ms range and become a choice of Na, F or radioactive Ne after that. Each of these would make a lovely combination when coupled with the person in sales and marketing who came up with the term.

    3. dajames Silver badge

      Re: nice highlighting of sales speak dross in the review

      ... thanks to "a new kind of magnesium" ...

      classic sales blurb, subverting basic chemistry

      Very much so ... according to the link given in the article the X1 Carbon (the model the article claims is made from this miraculous material) is actually made from "satellite-grade carbon fiber" (sic) ... which is a very new kind of magnesium indeed!

      1. Smooth Newt Silver badge

        Re: nice highlighting of sales speak dross in the review

        "satellite-grade carbon fiber" (sic)

        I guess the clue is in the title. X1 Carbon. Although quite what "satellite-grade" means, apart from satellites being really expensive, I am not so sure. Carbon fibre is used in fishing rods too, but I guess "fishing rod grade" doesn't have the cachet.

  4. Infidellic_

    Pico-projector in ThinkPad

    I always though that a pico-projector for the Ultrabay would make sense rather than all the usual fiddling around with full sized projector where the bulb's gone, it doesn't support your resolution, only one person can present at a time etc. Wondered about bodging one myself and seeing what the internet thought but the (recent) ultrabays (I know of) only have SATA interfaces and I wasn't about to try to write some crazy hacky driver to get GFX over SATA given that I doubt it's even possible and even if it were I'd not even be close to those skills - they wouldn't be even a spec in the horizion of my abilities.

    So yeah, Lenovo I thought of your pico-projector idea first - honest!

  5. kmac499

    Other lenovo goodies

    My Missus just bought herself a Lenovo Yoga summat (900 ?) or other. Thin but solid construction, Win 10, superb 13.3" screen, backlit keyboard and a bloody great 512Gb SSD for less money than a basic Surface.

    Oh and it folds back on itself to make a tablet..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other lenovo goodies

      A Gigabit SSD, that's novel!

    2. Arctic fox

      "Oh and it folds back on itself to make a tablet."

      Oh and it reinstalls crap from BIOS level even if you do a clean install? Now that's what I call added value. Lenovo, the name you can trust - excuse me while I puke.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    At last!

    Looks like some amazing kit! OLED notebook: WANT

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: At last!

      It does look kinda sexy. Need to know Lenovo haven't put any suspicious hard to remove malware on it (apart from Win10, which If I bought one would be the first to go).

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: At last!

        Need to know Lenovo haven't put any suspicious hard to remove malware on it

        You can almost bet on that :-(. Format and install the OS of choice, assuming you can get hold of the right drivers. Though I suspect if you go through the right vendor you can get an enterprise Windows 7 without the crap.

        1. Montreal Sean

          Re: At last!

          That's not malware, it's "opt-in", value added software!

          You did opt-in, didn't you? I mean, you bought the laptop right?

          Oh, you thought the value it added was for you? Silly person, why should it add value to you?


  7. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    More importantly

    How will Lenovo have buggered up the keyboard in this iteration? Ctrl key goes walkabout? No caps lock, naff function keys?

    1. Salts

      Re: More importantly

      @Gordon 10

      Caps Lock -- disabled or remapped as ctrl key, but never caps lock

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    chiclet keyboard

    thank you and good night.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: chiclet keyboard

      My cheap and nasty £200 Dell has one of those - not bad at all. I'd previously tried a HP chiclet and hated it. Just don't get me started on the Dell touchpad....

    2. Schultz Silver badge

      Re: chiclet keyboard

      My X230 has a chiclet keyboard. First I was skeptical, but it is excellent. It has good key spacing and the feel of a real keyboard. I like it as much as the good old X40 keyboard, which was my earlier reference (let's not talk about the intermediate models). Give it a try and be surprised. (Or not.)

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: chiclet keyboard

        But does it have the page back and forward keys flanking the "Up" arrow. If not, it is significantly worse than the X40.

        Comment written on X61 :-)

  9. pmartin66

    I would still get the nice fast Surface. OLED Smoled. My stupid eyes can't see the difference anyway, and I would be using it for work, not games.

  10. Daggerchild Silver badge


    Looks nice, but until they're the size of a Kindle I can't carry them with me so I don't want them.

    Why is there a market void around the gravestone of the Psion 5MX? It's still the benchmark for that form factor and that's insane.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yum

      but until they're the size of a Kindle I can't carry them with me so I don't want them...Why is there a market void...

      You want full fat Windows on a six inch screen, with all of the productivity applications too? Presumably the dearth of PC tablets with a six inch screen reflects the small number of people with hawk-like vision.

      I must say I was rather impressed by my son's cheap-as-chips Lenovo Miix with WIndows 10 at £150, but even then the ten inch screen was a tad small for my preference.

      1. Daggerchild Silver badge

        Re: Yum

        What did I just step on there, and how?

        You want full fat Windows on a six inch screen...
        Er, do I? Why?
        Presumably the dearth of PC tablets with a six inch screen reflects the small number of people with hawk-like vision
        *points at your phone*. *points at your kindle*.

        My 10" laptop lives in a house with a desktop, and it's too big to coat-carry, so it's not getting used. I need something smaller. Does that make me a monster?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yum

          You want full fat Windows on a six inch screen...

          Er, do I? Why?

          You wrote, "but until they're the size of a Kindle I can't carry them with me so I don't want them" in respect of an article on Thinkpad tablets and Surface tablets. My point was thus that whilst you might want that combination of size and functionality, relatively few people would choose to use phones and Kindle sized devices as full fat "productivity" clients.

          Does that make me a monster?

          Well, it doesn't not make you a monster, if that's OK with you.

          1. Daggerchild Silver badge

            Re: Yum

            relatively few people would choose to use phones and Kindle sized devices as full fat "productivity" clients
            You saying there isn't a market for *conveniently* portable productivity devices? Having to carry a laptop bag when I used to just carry a Psion 5MX is still stupid. It's weird to be downvoted for pointing this out. I'm not fussed whether the Thinkpad shrinks, or the Tab 2 grows a detachable MS Wedge. Human handsize/coat pocket size/number of hands won't be changing.
            Well, it doesn't not make you a monster, if that's OK with you
            Boolean table error: 'not not make you' detected - 'not make you not' assumed. Deploying unknown un-gnomes.

  11. Fraggle850

    Retro TP please

    With a proper keyboard as in days of yore. Oh, yeah, and no crapware. Build the snazzy tosh too by all means, snake oil types need something to gush over, but please make a proper one too.

  12. Missing Semicolon

    A T-series with a fixed battery?


  13. Boothy Silver badge

    1366 x 766/768

    1366 x 766 <-- Typo in the article?



    768 (or less) displays should be consigned to the bin. I've had issues with some standard Windows control panels (including Win 10), not fitting properly on a 768 display (OK/Cancel off the bottom of the screen etc).

    And wide screen on a laptop, a BUSINESS laptop, just NO! Wide screen is passable on a laptop that has a separate numeric pas, as they are a bit wider, but not on a standard laptop.

    I've no issue with wide screen monitors themselves, but only as a separate display, and only as long as the pixel hight is big enough (i.e. 1200, 1440 +). But in a laptop, it's just wasting lid space.

    I've got an old T420 at work, with a widescreen display. and it has wide plastic bands above and below the display, as the screen basically doesn't fit the space available in the lid! Very poor design.


    Anyone up for a bit of crowd funding to send someone round to all the screen manufacturing plants to <see icon> to all the equipment used to build 768 displays?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1366 x 766/768

      1366x768 Screens are the pits.

      I'll support your crowdfunding as long as the people on the trip can carry enough TNT to level those plants so that these blots on that landscape never appear on sale again.

      Sadly it seems that corporate PC/Laptop buyers are wedded to them.

      Totally agree about the whitespace issue. Can someone take one of these things to MS HQ and show the problems to Satnad? Not that it would make any difference though.

    2. jitterted

      Re: 1366 x 766/768

      I miss the days of a 1920x1600 screen on my old Inspiron, but x768 screens are the worst. Seems impossible to find non-widescreen displays.

  14. Banksy

    Big 4

    Coming soon to a KPMG, Deloitte, et al consultant near you.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Big 4

      "Consultard" - there, FTFY...

  15. Erik4872

    Not bad, but I'd still like the retro options

    Ever since Lenovo came out with the Tx40 series, with the weird clickable touchpad, people have been begging them to go back to at least giving people retro options. Lots of people were upset when the keyboard changed in the Tx30 series. I've been a ThinkPad user for ages, and I've mostly lived with the changes. I'm happy they brought back the normal touchpad in the T550; doesn't do much for the one on my T540p though.

    I'm still trying to figure out why, after tons of complaints by die-hard users, they don't at least offer one model that isn't trying to be a black MacBook Pro. I've seen comments in forums along the lines of "we pay a premium for the boring functional design, Lenovo, please give it back to us!" I guess it's expensive to manufacture for a niche market, but from what I've seen it's not a niche market.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I will continue to boycott everything Lenovo because of the spyware incident

    If you think the company has changed its ways, trying picking up a Lenovo smartphone (yes, Lenovo make smartphones) and have a look at the China-centric crud that has been pre-installed.

    A leopard never changes its spots. Take heed.

  17. Joe Werner Silver badge

    And then they wonder why we are not excited about their new products....

    Reading the comments I can see why we have the headline on the other article. No, we are not really that excited about your newest products, myself included. I just want to get rid of the friggin' touchpad on my E-series. And I want my laptop to be netbook sized again - I travel too much. On a recent trip I packed the predecessor (Samsung netbook) even if it suffers from random screen failures because it is both lighter and smaller. Try opening any laptop bigger than 11" in an economy class seat (and that is reasonable Euro airlines, not the US carriers where I have problems fitting my knees in...). Luckily it was well behaved. I think I'll open it and reseat the cables or resolder them...

    If you want me to buy your product: 10" screen (or 11" without bezel, 'cmon, it is possible), lightweight, huge battery for 7 hrs of working with intermittent WiFi use and programming / compiling / debugging, harddisk > 250 GB, make that 500 GB, CPU can be lowish end, but I need enough RAM... oh, and it must be able to run GNU/Linux. The Macs come close, except for the harddisk and they are slightly too big still (and really expensive....). The ASUS transformers look ok, but good luck finding all of the Linux drivers - same with the Lenovo Yoga, from what I read...

  18. hiddenedge
    Thumb Up

    Retro thinkpad - - yes please

    A friendly thumbs up to the Thinkpad people who are musing about reintroducing traditional thinkpads.

    I'm sure i am not alone is saying - I have my credit card ready.

    I miss theold thinkpads. Thieves got my x230T so I went back to my trusty x61 with 8gb of 200 pin sodimm and a 1tb samsung ssd. And realised that I liked it more anyway.

    I was considering an x1 carbon but I would pay real money for a genuine successor to the x61. That means user upgradable parts, a 4:3 aspect ratio, amazing battery life and " it just works" reliability.

    It would also be nice if Lenovo gave us the option to pay more for higher res screens and better graphics cards.

    Build it and they will come.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Retro thinkpad - - yes please

      Build it and they will come.

      It would be nice to think so. But corporate procurement is routinely in the hands on one-eyed monsters, and most private buyers buy on price, and will happily tolerate marketing-demanded rubbish like glossy 1366 TN screens.

      This is what happens as markets get commoditised. Back in the day when you needed skill to design a portable computer, and had to be very involved across the design and manufacture of the components, the marginal cost of the doing the job properly was a tolerable premium. In today's world of unheard of assemblers and parts-bin supply chains, the cost of having both a decent spec and making the device well are a much bigger premium over the lowest cost options, and fewer buyers will find that premium for physical attributes (although curiously they will often find it for the intangible attribute of "brand").

      You can see this happening with phones too. The days of SD card slots and user replaceable batteries are numbered, as makers try to shave pennies off the BoM and assembly costs. But still the volume and margin on high end Androids is being eroded by makers you've never heard of offering high spec devices for less than half the price of a branded flagship.

      So I think your request for a good quality, durable Thinkpad is niche at best, overly optimistic at worst. Putting yourself in Lenovo's shoes, why make a device that lasts, if the market is willing to buy less durable kit on a more frequent basis?

      Arguably your best bet is to leap into the walled garden, and hope that Tim Cook is willing to cut users some slack (in the form of hardware quality) from his company's well padded margins.

  19. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Thinkpad 755CV

    You could remove the back of the display on these - along with the backlight, exposing the bare TFT screen and then place the display unit on an overhead projector with the provided kit/straps. IIRC, list price was around £4000

    I think Siemens(?) came up with a better solution not long after where the display could be removed and attached to the base using a cable, making it less cumbersome/Heath-Robinson to place on the projector.

  20. pauly

    Misleading title

    I had really high hopes then i saw that aspect ratio, how can a laptop with a 16:9 display be an alternative to Surface!?

  21. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Photo of that keyboard is encouraging

    It looks like the "Surface-style keyboard" has an isometric pointer control (aka "Trackpoint" or "eraser mouse"). I'm glad to see it, as Dell and Lenovo are the only two OEMs I know of that still supply them.

    I hate trackpads and external mice. I know most people get along fine with them, but I don't want to take my hands off the home row when I'm typing to screw with the mouse pointer, and I've never gotten used to working a trackpad with a thumb.

    I'm not currently looking to get a high-end tablet (or any other sort), but if I do have to some day, it'd be nice if I could get that sort of keyboard for it.

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